Samstag, 27. Februar 2010

Duck Fest Derby Fort Lauderdale 2010

Today was the big Duck Race in Fort Lauderdale. 20.000 rubber ducks were dumped into the New River to compete for the Grand Prize of $5.000,- and other prizes. The event was held for a good cause - to benefit the charity "Kids in Distress", who cares for abused and neglected children down here in South Florida. For a donation of $5,- people could "adopt" a duck that would take part in the race. Andrew and I had both adopted a "quack pack", 5 ducks each and went down to Fort Lauderdale to watch the event. It was a lot of fun, especially for children due to all the stations like face painting, "duck toss", hula hoop and a little farm zoo, but even we grown ups had fun.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't very stable, so before the first ducks could cross the finish line, people were told to leave the outside event area, due to a storm with lightening approaching, which of course isn't too great around water. The winners will be announced on the event website on Monday. Maybe we were lucky!

Heute fand das grosse Enten-Rennen in Fort Lauderdale statt. 20.000 Quietsche-Entchen wurden in den New River gekippt um dort um ein Preisgeld von $5.000,- und andere Preise zu kaempfen. Die Veranstaltung fand fuer eine gute Sache statt, naemlich "Kids in Distress", eine Organisation die sich um vernachlaessigte und missbrauchte Kinder hier in Suedflorida kuemmert. Fuer eine Spende von $5,- konnte man eine Ente "adoptieren", die an dem Rennen teilnahm. Andrew und ich adoptierten jeweils ein "Quack Pack", was jeweils 5 Entchen entsprach und fuhren nach Fort Lauderdale um uns das Ganze anzuschauen. Es hat viel Spass gemacht, vorallem war dort viele Staende fuer Kinder, wie Schminken, Entenweitwurf, Hula Hoop oder ein kleiner Bauernhof-Zoo, aber auch wir Erwachsenen kamen auf unsere Kosten.

Leider war das Wetter nicht besonders stabil und so wurden wir aufgefordert, die Veranstaltungsstaette noch vor Zieleinlauf der ersten Ente zu verlassen, weil sich ein Gewitter schnell naeherte, was natuerlich direkt in der Umgebung von Wasser nicht besonders gut ist. Die Gewinner werden am Montag auf der Event Webseite bekannt gegeben. Vielleicht hatten wir ja Glueck und sind dabei!

The race course./ Die Rennstrecke.

Hard working volunteers getting the ducks ready.

The leading group./ Die fuehrende Truppe.

Rubber ducky, you're the one - you make race time so much fun!

The finish line.

The storm approaching.

One year down... four to go!

21.02.2010 or 02/21/2010... One year has passed since I moved or immigrated to Southern Florida. To celebrate this event, I decided that I wanted to go to the place where I started my journey... South Beach, Miami. I only spent 3 days in a hostel there last year and didn't even set food on the beach of South Beach and due to being so busy throughout the year, I also never did after settling down, so it was about time.

Andrew and I got into the car, started the day at IHop and spent a wonderful afternoon walking through the streets of SoBe. We were lucky and had a quite sunny and warm day, which has become a rarity lately due to the Global Cooling events around the world, that did not spare South Florida. ;) We finished the day with Asian food and going to the movies to see Shutter Island with Leo DiCaprio... "Interesting" movie!

Definitely had a great day and can finally say that I've really been to South Beach!!!

21.02.2010 oder wie die Amis es schreiben wuerden, 02/21/2010... Ein Jahr ist seit meinem Umzug nach Suedflorida vergangen. Um dieses Ereignis zu feiern, entschied ich, dass ich an den Platz zurueckkehren wollte, an dem ich mein Abenteuer startete: South Beach, Miami. Ich habe dort letztes Jahr meine ersten 3 Tage in einer Jugendherberge verbracht, setzte aber nie einen Fuss auf den Strand von South Beach und auch nachdem ich sesshaft wurde, schaffte ich es nicht, weil ich ja immer so beschaeftigt war. Es war also laengst an der Zeit!

Andrew und ich setzten uns also ins Auto, starteten den Tag bei IHop und verbrachten dann einen wunderschoenen Nachmittag indem wir durch die Strassen von SoBe schlenderten. Wir hatten Glueck und es war ein recht sonniger und warmer Tag, was ja aufgrund der Global Cooling Ereignisse weltweit, von der auch Suedflorida nicht verschont blieb, auch hier eine Seltenheit geworden ist. Den Tag beendeten wir mit Asiatischem Essen und einem Kinobesuch um Shutter Island, der neue Film mit Leo DiCaprio anzugucken... "Interessanter" Film!

Wir hatten einen super schoenen Tag und ich kann endlich sagen, dass ich so richtig in South Beach war!!!

PS: Die englische Bulldogge mit der franzoesischen Bulldogge waren der HAMMER!!! SOOOO SUESS!!! TOO CUTE!!!

Montag, 15. Februar 2010

Tax Return 2010 - My 1st one in the States

A must for every greencard holder is filing the annual tax return in the USA. I thought it would be a lot more complicated and a lot more paper war, but granted, I'm pretty young, don't own real estate, a business or whatsoever and that makes things a lot easier!

I received my W2, which is the income form from one's employer(s), in Mid-January and I wanted to get "it" out of the way as quick as possible. Through various TV and internet ads, I knew which companies are out there to do the return for me or help with advice, but since I didn't have much to declare or deduct, I decided to go through the IRS website and use a free tax return online service. I ended up doing mine with Turbo Tax. It took me about 15 minutes to go through everything, it was free and the website told me right away how high my return is going to be and when I would receive it from the IRS.

2 weeks later my 1st American tax refund was deposited into my account. Yeeehaw!

Kitty Cat :-)

On Wednesday it was time for my kitty to come home!!!

So here he is... the 3rd member of our household: SMOKEY

He is a lot smaller than I had figured from seeing him crouched together in his cage, but the cutest cat ever! We share the same birthday. He was born on Nov. 9th, 2008, so on my 23rd birthday. He's been adopted once before from the shelter, but the people brought him back after 3 months. I don't know why, but he surely has a great home now!

He's possibly the most affectionate cat I ever had. He always follows us around, cuddles up to us, purrs all the time etc.. Yesterday he discovered his cat-bed (and actually slept in it) and also that sleeping on top of OUR bed is possible. The days before, he always slept underneath our bed. Well, I can already see that he likes it on top A LOT better!

Smokey is also regaining the regular cat behavior. The first couple of days he was pretty calm in the mornings.... oh well, that changed quickly! This morning he came running in the bedroom and jumped straight up on top of the bed and of course, on top of me. And then he jumped and he jumped and he jumped.... All you cat owners know how that goes, don't you!? :)

I guess the thing he loves the most right now is us not having a lot of furniture (although we finally got a dinner table & chairs & a TV yesterday). It just gives him soooo much room to play and run around like a crazy something.

Anyhow, very lovable pet!

Sonntag, 7. Februar 2010

Superbowl in Miami & 1st week in Hollywood

We just came back from a great Superbowl party in Fort Lauderdale with about 20 great Americans that we didn't know before. My German friend Tanja and her American husband Ben took us with them and we had a blast.... and waaaaay too much food!!! :)

The team that we were for won! GOOOO SAINTS! I actually looked forward to the Superbowl since everybody had told me about the commercials the big companies create especially for this event, but I have to say that only a few of them were actually good. Some were just really dumb!

We've also been a week in our new apartment today. This place is freakin' awesome!!! I made a good choice. After sleeping in the floor for two nights we also got a bed... king size and European... from IKEA... That's all the furniture we've got so far though which still leaves a lot of space in this place. Oh yes, and I got a plant!!! I picked a Jasmin, as I love it when it blooms.

AND: Andrew and I drove to the animal shelter in Pompano Beach today and I adopted a cat! It was heartbreaking to see these kitties in the small cages they were in and all of them started meowing and purring and tried to get our attention, but in the end we had to decide on one. I took the adoption card from a cage with a completely black male cat in it and when I took it off the door, he wanted to play with my fingers. Very cute one, a little quieter than some of the others though.

The bad thing is that MY cat has to sleep in the shelter for another 3 nights. :( My adoption went through, I had to pay a deposit, but they basically will get him "ready" by Wednesday. Probably some final check ups and bureaucracy. I'm sooo looking forward to get him out of there and have an addition to our small German/American family :)

So far, the new year is still going great. I'll post some pictures soon!

Now good night! New work week ahead!